Barry always knew he was adopted, but before he ever launched a search, he was found by his older sister. He tells the story of meeting her, and subsequently meeting his birth mother, both of whom welcomed him into their hearts. Hearing stories about why he was placed for adoption, Barry learned that he may have been lucky to escape his birth parents, but his younger siblings were not. This is Barry’s journey.
Barry: 00:00 I decided at that point, prior to going in to meet her, at some point I will just call her mom. So I said it as I was leaving and I don’t think she caught it. So she, you know, we had to be chat at the front door and blah blah blah. And then I went to give her a hug and I said, I’ll see you later mom. And she looked up at me and she staggered a little bit and she kinda questioned the whole thing by just saying, mum said, well you kind of gave birth to me that kinda qualifies you.
Voices: 00:35 Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I? Who am I?
Damon: 00:47 This is Who Am I Really? A podcast about adoptees that have located and connected with their biological family members. I’m Damon Davis and on today’s show is Barry. I spoke with him from just outside of Edinburgh, Scotland via Skype. Barry always knew he was adopted, but just before he ever launched the search he was found by his older sister. He tells the story of meeting her and subsequently meeting his birth mother, both of whom welcomed him into their hearts. Hearing stories about why he was placed for adoption, He learned that he may have been lucky to escape his birth parents, but his younger siblings were not. This is Barry’s journey. Barry told me he had a middle class upbringing with his father who was in construction and his mother who was a semi retired school teacher, he grew up in a peaceful, quiet little village south of Edinburgh. Barry’s mother was unable to bear children, so he and his brother were adopted.
Barry: 01:46 Just the two of us. I mean, we’re, we’re pretty much chalk and cheese completely. Other than the fact we grew up in the same place, um, there’s very little in common.
Damon: 01:56 What did you notice that you didn’t have in common when you were a kid? Maybe.
Barry: 02:00 Uh, I spent, well I was dyslexic growing up. So you kinda, you know, kids being the way kids are. Um, I spent most of my time alone anyway and I was quite happy. Just give me a key, you know, I was always into computers, um, or I played guitar and stuff like that. Um, I, I was quite happy just being by myself, doing my own little thing, my own way. And my brother was always the outgoing guy. He played soccer, uh, badly. Um, oh, he was terrible. He was, he’s quite legendary. So he was always the, he always had friends around and he was always going around to them or they were coming here and I had two or three friends, kinda, growing up. But most of the time I was more than happy just being by myself.
Damon: 02:46 Barry went on to say that he and his brother didn’t look anything alike.
Barry: 02:51 We’re both relatively the same height, but he’s blonde, I’m dark. Um, facially we’re completely and utterly different. My brother’s ex wife, when she was just, they were just going out and she came over for a family meal one day and she commented saying Barry and his brothers don’t even look alike. And everyone kinda like stopped and was like, well, yeah, they’re adopted. Didn’t you know that? I mean, everybody who knew us growing up knew that we were adopted. It was just, there was never a secret. It was never an issue. We just kind of got on with it. I don’t recall, uh, being told but I just know that I was always, it was always explained to me that someone couldn’t look after me, so my parents did.
Damon: 03:34 And how did that explanation sit with you?
Barry: 03:36 Uh, well that’s the only one you got. So you Kinda just have to get on with it really. Um, but you know, that’s when, as you get older, it kind of, for me, it factored in the back of my mind and you’ve got the whole, you know, maybe I wasn’t good enough. What did I do wrong? And I think I, I’ve now learned that there’s a, uh, a character trait that a lot of, uh, adoptees have where you have this need to please people around them. So yeah, I’ve recognized that behavioral trait.
Damon: 04:07 He was dyslexic. So at school he learned what people expected or wanted to hear from him. And he learned to be a chameleon who didn’t stick out in the crowd. Barry said, it’s funny to see how different his daughter is today than he was as a kid. She’s outgoing and won’t hesitate to tell you what she’s thinking. Going back to his own childhood, he highlighted something else that many adoptees experience.
Barry: 04:31 You grow up not looking like anyone around you. Which I’ve heard referred to as the cuckoo complex.
Damon: 04:39 Oh, I haven’t heard that before. Interesting. What, how did they describe it when you heard it?
Barry: 04:44 Um, yeah, essentially the cuckoo doesn’t know is it lays its eggs in other bird’s nests. And of course birds are biologically programmed to raise the eggs that hatch. So they raise this other chick and off it goes and the cycle goes on. So yeah. Um, I kinda, it wasn’t until I heard it I was like, oh yeah,
Damon: 05:09 that’s fascinating. I have never heard that before.
Barry: 05:12 And of course, having my daughter, everyone’s, you know, she’s dark haired, I’m dark hair. So she, if you look at my childhood pictures, she’s a spitting image of me, but I’ve got nothing else to compare that to. Yeah, I have no idea what I look like or who I resemble.
Damon: 05:27 I asked Barry about how he was similar or different from his parents. He said that with his mom, a school teacher, everything is always a lesson, so he just adapted to how she operated. His Dad was an old school guy who worked at the same company he had been employed by since his apprenticeship at 14 years old. By the age of 21 his father had earned his way to being the youngest construction foreman in the company and eventually Barry and his brother worked for the company too, his brother still does, but their father is retired. But back in the day, Barry went to work as a brick layer and he hated it. He didn’t know what he wanted to do, but he knew that was not it. Of course, his father couldn’t understand why. He just assumed that his son was lazy, when in reality he just wasn’t cut out for that kind of manual labor. Oh and the Gong you’re about to hear, I accidentally struck my mic stand. Sorry about that.
Barry: 06:25 So yeah, you were just the lazy child, you know, just buckle under and just get it done. And it’s like, no, it’s not quite as easy as that, but you can’t communicate that to some people. And My, my dad and I were never ever close. The only time I remember him speaking to me was to issue a new notice of disapproval. I’m sure. I’m sure there were, there were nice moments as well, but I don’t remember them.
Damon: 06:49 Yeah. When they’re, when they’re so far out numbered by the disapprovals then you don’t remember the approvals very well.
Barry: 06:55 Yeah. Yeah. Uh, I, I generally tended to stay out of his way when he came home, when he came home, which another reason I just locked myself in my room with my computers and my guitars and then did whatever.
Damon: 07:05 How about with your mom? Where you, so you must have been naturally closer to her, but did you feel a connection to her?
Barry: 07:11 I did in a way. Um, I mean, I, I, I do remember feeling, I mean even, even though they don’t quite understand me, I mean, since I’ve been finding family and stuff like that, my father and I, my father has made efforts to get close to me. Um, for example, he, the pair of us with his background in wood, Eh, he constructed a couple of guitars.
Damon: 07:36 Really? That’s awesome.
Barry: 07:38 Yeah. And they’re, they’re fantastic guitars as well. My Dad glued a whole bunch of different woods together, so it had a stripe effect and he carved out the entire body himself.
Damon: 07:51 Did you think, it sounds like all of this happened in your adulthood and if I heard you correctly after reunion, did you kind of think to yourself like, where was this guy when I was growing up?
Barry: 08:02 Well, yeah, it’s, funnily enough, me and my little brother were saying that a little while ago. Um, yeah, it’s like we would have killed to have that guy as our dad.
Damon: 08:11 So of course I couldn’t wait to ask Barry about when he first got the inclination to find his biological family and what went through his mind at that time.
Barry: 08:19 Here’s the trick. I didn’t,
Damon: 08:21 so it’s December 1st, 2016 Barry is in his IT office, board, with little to do before the holiday break. His friend Esther, an American sends him a message on Facebook saying she just got a message from a woman named Tracy in the UK saying she was Barry’s sister
Barry: 08:40 and I’m sick. Well, that’s okay. I don’t have a sister, so this is obviously a fake scam or it’s a mistake or whatever. So I’m thinking, right, it’s probably a scam or something like that, you know, give me money, blah, blah, blah. So I’m thinking, right, I’m going to have some fun with this because I’m bored, I messaged this person and they’re asking really dumb questions, questions that if you knew me growing up, you’d automatically know. Where did I grow up? Um, have I lived ever lived in the town of Haddington? Um, uh, am I adopted? And I was like, well, God, come on. Ask proper questions if you’re going to try and scam me, you know? So I’m not thinking of where this is going, but there’s a little alarm bell somewhere in my head that I’m Kinda just pushing to the side for a minute. I said yes, I still, you know, my parents still live there.
Barry: 09:28 I grew up there, blah, blah blah. And yes, I was adopted when I was two years old, which is a rather specific thing. Then she soccer punches me with, I can’t believe I found you. You’re my little brother. I was like, what? I honestly didn’t know what to think. I had so much rushing through my head thinking, is this real? Is it? Is she got the right person? And then I got this. I know it’s lot to take take in, blah, blah, blah. Here’s my number. So I just click on the number and walk out into the hallway and she’s machine gunning me with bullet points and information. She’s completely terrified by the science of it. But the weirdest thing was she has an English accent. Now I am Scottish, I have a Scottish accent. I’m thinking the first thing that goes through my mind is, oh no, this poor cow has got the wrong person.
Barry: 10:14 But then she hits me with something and she says, your full name when you were born was James Barry Clark. I had this immediate TV flashback stick in my head of me standing in the dining room next to the side board with all the, you know, the side board that had all the information and all the stuff that just got shoved into it, well, we had one of them. And I remember my mom telling me this,
Damon: 10:41 she told you your original name?
Barry: 10:43 Yes. I remember being told, because I was a fan of Def Leppard, their guitar player was Steve Clark. So I thought, Oh, okay, I’ve gotta cool name. I would’ve had a cool name instead of Smith. So I then come, you know, snap out of my little daydream or whatever it was. And uh, I hear her say, you know, says, I know it’s a lot to take in. Um, and you know if you want to keep in touch, I understand if you don’t want to keep in touch, and I don’t know what it was, but something inside me completely cut her off and assured her no, no, no, no, no of course I’m gonna keep in touch, you’re my sister for God’s sake. And I heard her breathe a big massive sigh of relief on the other end of the phone.
Damon: 11:30 Tracy had been searching for him off and on for 16 years because she always remembered him. She’s two years older than he, but I wanted to go back to what Barry said about his sister peppering him with questions while sounding terrified. I asked him what he meant by that.
Barry: 11:46 Just that, she’s, she, she’s been looking for 16 years and now this moment is finally come that she’s finally speaking to me. I could easily put the phone down and say I’m not interested.
Damon: 11:57 Yeah, yeah, I guess that’s right.
Barry: 11:59 And like a lot of adoptees, the fear of rejection is always present.
Damon: 12:04 But this time this was, was the fear of the searcher. So is she also adopted?
Barry: 12:12 Yes And this was her last attempt to try and find me when she found me.
Damon: 12:16 Wow, that’s incredible. So the siblings are posting away on Facebook, chatting for hours and hours by phone. Barry learned that when their parents broke up, he was sent to live with his father who was incapable of taking care of him to use Barry’s words. An anonymous tipper informed child protective services that Barry was being violently shaken by his father. So he was removed from his care. Later, his sister was removed from their mother’s care. They were separated.
Barry: 12:46 Her adopted parents found out about me and contacted my adoption agency in Scotland because they were in Bristol at the time. Uh, they find out about me or wanting to adopt me at the same time. And so my adoption agency apparently blocked it.
Damon: 13:03 So her family was interested in adopting both of you?
Barry: 13:08 Yes. They wanted to keep us together.
Damon: 13:10 and the adoption agency blocked it. Wow. That’s astonishing. I wonder what the, what the logic was behind such a thing. That seems so crazy to separate siblings when someone has clearly articulated they like to keep them together.
Barry: 13:26 Yeah. I, I don’t get it. And not only that, if you to move one child, surely you should be moving two. But so here’s a mind binder for you. After, after some time later, we found another family member, a cousin of my dad or whatever it was, um, Shirley and she was explaining her mum and her mum has a rather unique name, Betty Hunter and I, I kept, why do I know that name? Why do I know the name? I’ve heard it before. And then it was in a conversation with my adopted mom where she pointed, she mentioned the name and I said, who is that? And she went, oh, that was your grand’s best friend. That person who stayed two or three doors up from my grand was her best friend. And it turns out that’s my biological father’s aunt.
Damon: 14:15 Really? So you knew family members and didn’t even realize it.
Barry: 14:20 Yeah. And the thing is, you know, if my grand was looking after me, Betty would come round and they’d have a coffee together and all that sort of stuff that grannies do and they’d certain watch me play and they had no idea who I was.
Damon: 14:32 Oh my god. That is crazy. So that night Barry’s sister starts posting on Facebook that she’s finally found her brother. Instantly, one person keeps liking every single post.
Barry: 14:44 It’s the same person every single time. As soon as she’d post something, boom. And again, as soon as she’d post something, boom. So I said, who the..is this person? Oh, that’s mom. Oh, oh, you mean that’s your mom. Oh, um, no, that’s our mom. I was like, excuse me? She went, have you met the others? I said the, sorry, the what? She went oh, okay. After us, mom remarried and had a boy and a girl.
Damon: 15:13 So Barry goes online and looks up his siblings and of course they look just like him. As a matter of fact, his daughter looks a lot like his sister Tracy. In the exchange of photos back and forth, there’s a picture of his sister that even he could swear was a picture of himself.
Barry: 15:31 There’s a photo that I’ve spliced together and on one side is me roughly the same age as her and my sister in law could not tell us apart.
Damon: 15:40 That’s incredible. Wow.
Barry: 15:43 Both kind of got the same kind of hair and all the rest of it. It’s just really bizarre.
Damon: 15:47 I think people in the adoption triad have got to be the biggest photo splicers when we find people out of any, any other population, you know what I mean?
Barry: 15:59 Oh yeah.
Damon: 16:00 Cause I did that too. I, I took, um, I took my biological mother and father and put myself together with them. I even took, the one that I remember doing the most actually is I did it with my wife as an infant myself as an infant and my son as an infant because this was the first time that I ever had sort of that blood relation that I could look at. And this was prior to, you know, my reunion. And so, yeah, I think we’re probably the kings of the photo splice. So Barry was informally introduced to his birth mother by way of her Facebook likes on his sister’s posts, but he decided to let it sit for a few days because he just couldn’t figure out how to initiate contact.
Barry: 16:44 I think I said something silly like, hey mom, long time, no speak.
Damon: 16:51 Barry’s sister found him in December. By spring he had decided to go visit her in England, a short flight to Bristol airport. They agreed to meet outside in the arrivals area.
Barry: 17:01 So I’m standing there on an, you know, it’s like a movie, there’s cars, people coming and going and it suddenly dawns on me, you have no idea who the hell you’re looking for. Yeah, I’ve gone all this way and I’ve just figured out I don’t know who it is I’m meeting, I don’t know what she looks like. I’ve got a couple of blurred photos and then all of a sudden this like this bus pulls away and leaning against, I was told it was a blue car, leaning against a blue car is this woman with her arms folded and this big smile on her face. Just kinda staring at me, just waiting and staring. So I was like, oh, that must be her then. I walked over and she went, oh, you take your time, man. I mean, we had this great big hug. I met her boyfriend and uh, they put me up in the spare room and for the first day, uh, he stuck around just in case things didn’t work or if there was an issue and later on that night we were arguing about absolutely nothing but the way that siblings would argue, it’s like, yeah, but this and this, this and this.
Barry: 18:08 Yeah, well this, this, this and this. And it’s just the sort of silly tongue in cheek sort of fake argument thing. And all, all we hear from the other end of the room is, is her boyfriend saying, well, you too pack it in. God, I’ve gone hysterical now and immediately the pair of us start on him together. I was like, Hey, I don’t pick on my siblings.
Damon: 18:34 The boyfriend decided they were just fine. So he left them alone the next day. Barry and his sister didn’t do much at all. They just kind of hung around and chatted. And you felt connected to her?
Barry: 18:46 Immediately.
Damon: 18:48 What did that feel like in contrast with how you grew up?
Barry: 18:52 Um, the weirdest thing is I don’t have to explain anything to her. She just gets it. And although we’ll, you know, not afraid to say a few home truths, uh, at the end of the day we’ve, you know, we’ve subsequently had arguments and you know, shut up. No, you shut up. And then we don’t speak for a couple of days. Like she said, you know, she says, if I, if I can’t fall out with my, with my little brother who the hell can I fall out with. I said, well, You know, you’ve got a point, nobody else was stupid enough to put up with us. Yeah, you’ve got a point. So that visit came and went. It was very emotional saying goodbye again. But she’s, I asked her when I was there, I said, you know, why would you spend this much time looking for someone you literally do not know I could be anybody. And She just turned around to me and said as if I was stupid and says I wanted my little brother back. and we were watching something on TV, which is just as well cause I don’t think I could have said another word after that.
Damon: 19:59 Barry said that the combination of his emotional reunion visit with his sister, reading her documentation about his life as an infant and toddler and her simple statement that she just wanted her little brother back were a lot to take in. In talking with his sister, he learned that his biological parents probably weren’t the loving, nurturing type. One story he heard was that his younger brother Gary had lived in 36 care homes in two years growing up because he kept running away. Gary went on to have substance abuse problems, but fortunately he made a recovery which he documented in an award winning documentary film about his life. Barry’s younger sister doesn’t seem to be interested in keeping contact with him and their older sister, the one who found him. Having thought about the whole situation, he’s pretty realistic about the positions he holds with his younger siblings.
Barry: 20:51 They’ve grown up knowing about us. And the one thing I, I never realized or thought about was, they always thought of us as the lucky ones cause we got out. And I think personally there’s a slight resentment towards that because we had they see us as having a better life than the traumatic one that they all grew up with.
Damon: 21:12 Oh, interesting. So yeah, I guess I didn’t really even think about that. I’m sorry. I’ve, I’ve, I lost sight of the fact that you had been taken from their care. So these are two children from a woman who had had children removed from her home. So they had a, they didn’t have a great life there, Huh?
Barry: 21:32 No. Um, there’s mums like boyfriends or whatever, didn’t, didn’t like my little brother and I dare say he wasn’t the most well behaved child either, but he was still a child. And um, plus I don’t, I don’t know what having those kids removed would have done to my mum anyway. As, as a parent myself, I can only imagine what it would do to me. I mean, did that have a negative effect because of that, which then means, you know, do you have the right to have a guilt complex saying that you know, you indirectly had a negative effect on their life.
Damon: 22:09 Going back to Barry’s birth mother, he did eventually start messaging her on Facebook. Through his older sister, He had accumulated most of his own chapter one, the backstory on how he was placed for adoption. So he decided he needed to take the leap and at least meet this woman. He took the train into Edinburgh. His mother caught a bus into town.
Barry: 22:31 I just remember this small old woman walking towards me and I’m like, what the hell do I say? Again, how do you start this conversation off? And I didn’t have to, um, she came over to me and the very first words she spoke to my face were, the women that raised you is and always will be your, your real mother. She says, I just gave birth to you. So that makes me also your mother.
Damon: 23:00 And how did that sit with you?
Barry: 23:03 Uh, I appreciate her trying to alleviate any confusion or issues I would have had about, you know, meeting this other mother, um, and not, and you’re not trying to make me feel I was having to choose or anything.
Barry: 23:28 Um, so yeah, it meant a lot that she did that and so we, we sat and chatted and as we were talking, just, you know, I was essentially asking about all the stuff that I already knew just to sometimes just to have a conversation, but I was pretty numb through the whole thing. I don’t quite recall how I was meant to react.
Damon: 23:46 Really? You were numb?
Barry: 23:48 Yeah. I just couldn’t A, believe it was happening and B, what do I do now? It’s one of these things that you think about from time to time growing up, but it’s another thing to have it sitting right there in front of you.
Damon: 24:02 Yeah, that’s right. That’s right.
Barry: 24:06 So it was a very, very brief meeting. It was about an hour or something.
Damon: 24:10 With your birth mother?
Barry: 24:11 Yeah. And then I, I just had to get out of there to process it. It was too much all at once. And then we agreed to meet up again sometime after and I went to her house this time.
Damon: 24:22 Before that, Tell me, how did you part?
Barry: 24:27 You know, gave her a great big hug and said thanks for coming and you know, we’ll, I’ll speak to you later on tonight on Facebook or whatever and I, I don’t believe in burning bridges unless, you know, it’s going to benefit you.
Barry: 24:43 Um, separation wise. Um, which is another story we’ll get to in a minute.
Damon: 24:49 Barry heard stories about his birth father. The man had lost his job, but his birth mother was giving him money to pay the rent, which he took to the pub and drank away. His birth mother found out the rent wasn’t paid when she returned home one day to find their belongings had been tossed into the front yard, They had been evicted. For their second meeting, Barry and his mother had gotten more comfortable. They had been chatting on Facebook regularly, so there was familiarity.
Barry: 25:18 Oh at this point I was always using her first name and part of me said, this just feels like you’re slapping her in the face when you say it. Uh, and I, I decided at that point, prior to going in to meet her that at some point I will just call her mum. So I said it as I was leaving and I don’t think she caught it. So she, you know, we had to be chat at the front door and blah, blah, blah. And then I went to give her a hug and I said, I’ll see you later, mom. And she looked up at me and she staggered a little bit and she kinda questioned the whole thing by just saying, mum? I said you kind of gave birth to me that kind of qualifies you.
Barry: 26:03 And you know, I think she stopped short of slapping me across the back of the head for being cheeky. But, um, uh, yeah, no, after that, yeah, It doesn’t feel weird at all. And it’s like a lot of people like my brother have asked questions occasionally saying, you know, does it feel weird and blah, blah blah, and you know, do you really call her mom and all those? Well she gave birth to me, she is and it’s not finding all this family isn’t about replacing anyone else or pushing anybody else away. This is all about who I am and where I come from. I’m still me and I’m still related to everybody. I grew up with one brother and now I have more
Damon: 26:42 on Facebook Barry found other relatives on his paternal side, his birth father’s brother, Uncle Andrew, and his aunt Isabella.
Barry: 26:51 How’s this for a coincidence? My life’s filled with these. My daughter’s name is Isabella. My Mom’s name is Isabella. My biological mum and my adopted mum half the same birthday on the same day of the same month.
Damon: 27:10 Wow, that’s crazy.
Barry: 27:13 Oh, and my dad’s sister’s called Isabella too.
Damon: 27:19 Wow that’s unreal. I love to hear stuff like that. So cool.
Barry: 27:23 And she’s not named after any of them.
Damon: 27:25 He got to know his aunt Isabella, whom he just calls Ella and chatted with her from time to time. He learned that Barry’s birth father is the oldest of his siblings. In their family, there was also some separation of siblings when some of the children went to live with Barry’s grandmother, Other children went to live with his grandfather. Barry’s birth father apparently spent a lot of time alone. Just like Barry when he was younger. Things were going just fine with Ella until one day she stopped responding to Barry’s texts.
Barry: 27:56 My Aunt Ella blocked me on Facebook and that’s it.
Damon: 28:03 No clue as to why?
Barry: 28:06 No. So I messaged her about it and uh, turns out her daughter was unhappy with her spend spending as much time talking to us. And how do you know? She says, how do we know they are who they say they are? It’s like is she drinking when she said that? We’re not, you know, we’re not the Kennedy’s. There’s not a pot of gold at the end of our rainbow. The only thing at the end of our rainbow will be an IOU and a bowl of conflicts.
Damon: 28:32 No, it’s funny how folks question your emergence or return as you know, as you did with your sister. Like, oh, is this person trying to scam me?
Barry: 28:45 Yeah. It’s like we’ve never asked for anything from any, any of our relatives ever. And uh, in fairness, they’ve never asked anything from us. So I sat and wrote this big screw you text message and sent it off.
Damon: 28:59 To Isabella?
Barry: 29:00 To yes to my, to my aunt. I think sometime later I got a message or something from my, from her daughter and you know, one of those moments where you get one up on someone and you end up dancing like a lunatic in front of, on a train. I was on the train station platform when this happened and I didn’t care. Um, you know, it’s just like, yeah, like, yo, leave my mom alone. I have all the family I need. And I was like, yeah, you, your mom, my dad are all cut from the same cloth. You’re all prize winning specimens aren’t ya?
Barry: 29:31 And then, and I got this, So-and-so is typing and you know, they’re spitting blood at this point. They’re furious and they’re typing something, so I just went, block. And then I got this other confirmation, she had two Facebook accounts, and I got confirmation on my other Facebook account. So-And-So has accepted your friend request. And I was like, so and so is typing. And I was like, Eh, and block again. And Lo and behold, I just dance my mary little Jig on the train platform, like a complete lunatic. Uh, but you know, you can’t expect everyone to welcome you with open arms, which is fine, but you know, I felt turning, you know, turning on someone like that was a little bit uncalled for. You know, if you can’t, if you can’t act like a grown up, you don’t deserve to be treated like one. So,
Damon: 30:18 and if you haven’t given someone a chance to get to know you either, you know, you’re just, you’re passing judgment from behind the curtain without seeing what’s happening in front. And that’s not fair. I asked about whether Barry had ever gotten to meet his birth father. He said they went looking for him, but they found some fishy things. For example, the man had two marriage certificates with his name represented differently on each one. On one, his last name had an e added to the end, another recorded him with a middle name. Their father didn’t have a middle name. They couldn’t find him, so they recruited help from a Scotland missing persons organization. The representative from which, was also a friend of the family, she launched her search,
Barry: 31:04 so they went helping us look. And Lo and behold, she comes back and she says, yeah, we can’t find any trace of your dad. Um, outside of the the marriage certificate. We said, okay, well, you know, thanks for looking. She went, but his kids seem nice.
Damon: 31:23 Whoa.
Barry: 31:24 That was our response too, I’m sorry what? Oh yeah. Your Dad’s been married after your mom and he had two kids, a boy and a girl. And I was like, wow, why do, why am I getting Deja Vu moment on this?
Damon: 31:39 Tracy and Barry started searching for people with their youngest siblings names on Facebook. One night, Barry is playing a gig with his band in Edinburg in an old club with dense walls and no cell phone coverage. On the drive home, when his mobile phone picks up the cell tower again, his phone blows up with messages. Among them are Facebook alerts indicating that Tracy is now friends with Andrew.
Barry: 32:04 And then I get this message, the delayed message from her saying found them. So I was like, Oh God, messaged him, I went, hi. And he went, hello big brother. He says here, here’s my number. And then he gave me his number and we basically chatted and he’s from new castle. So I phoned him up and this, yeah, this lovely bubbly person on the other end of the phone and he’s, and he says, oh, you’re my big brother. I was like, um, yeah, I guess. And he starts, you know, their mom and dad got divorced and dad just took off and they’ve never seen him again. He says, oh, I’m, I’m with Leslie at the moment, but he says, you know, I don’t know how she is going to take it. So you’ll have to let me break it to her. I said, okay. He brought the news to her and her response was to have a fit of laughter. So she was okay with it. It wasn’t until I started, um, comparing our faces together. It’s like, oh my God, we could be twins.
Damon: 32:59 Barry offered a research trip to Andrew to try to locate their father, suggesting they could go to the records office in Newcastle. Unfortunately, England only has some of their historical records online. Some are still retained in paper records. Scotland has all of their records searchable online, different countries, different systems, increased challenges along the path of their search.
Damon: 33:22 So nobody’s found dad?
Barry: 33:25 Nope. No one’s found him. But I’m, legally I’m not allowed to look for him.
Damon: 33:31 Why is that?
Barry: 33:33 He’s not my dad because when we were adopted, he lost all legal right to us. But my little brother has every legal right cause he’s still legally his son. But um, so yeah, I’ve got a, I’ve got three brothers, three sisters now essentially.
Damon: 33:51 That’s amazing. How does that feel? That now, you’re sort of at what feels kind of like the, the end of the first piece of the journey right? Should you, should you find your biological father, obviously that’ll be sort of another chapter, but how are you feeling right now given how you grew up and what you’ve discovered by virtue of Tracy finding you?
Barry: 34:13 To be honest, I’m in a pretty good place to be honest. Um, me and my sister are as close as ever. She’s, you know, if anything upsets her or if anythings, you know, either way, good or bad, I’m normally the first one that gets the text message sort of thing. That’s really cool. If, you know, if some someone or some things winding her up, she’ll vent to me and I always, I always joke, see you’re proving my wife wrong, I do have a use. And yeah, it’s, it’s weird. My, my adopted family, I’ll just kind of nod and say, oh, that’s lovely, but you know, they don’t intrude on it. It’s that thing that I am going off to do. So they just keep, keep out of the way sort of thing.
Damon: 35:00 And Are you okay with that?
Barry: 35:02 Yeah. Um, it saves any confrontations and you know, it’s nice that there’ve been respectful just letting me get on with it cause there is a lot to figure out and to get your head round and stuff and you know, you know, sometimes further down the line I may want to sit down with a, you know, some sort of therapist or something like that and just kind of go over stuff and.
Damon: 35:21 yeah, that would be smart,
Barry: 35:23 you know, clear the cobwebs out sort of thing. Um, but no, I think, uh, I’m in contact with a lot of adoptees and on Twitter and all that sort of stuff. And yeah, I, I see and I hear an awful lot, um, stories and stuff like that and I hear an awful lot of, uh, stories of people having doors slammed in their faces or the rugs pulled out from under them. So like, I think I’ve got off kind of lightly with only having a couple of people choosing to back off.
Damon: 35:54 Yeah. I think that’s, I think that’s right. This could have gone very, very differently as you know. And you know, the fact that people, even if you’re not close to them, like your brother asking you for a contribution to his musical endeavors and you know, all of these other things where they’re reaching out, you know, as needed. But their, there is kind of cool, you know, it’s not some merrily rejected. It’s, you know, we’re present and it is what it is,
Barry: 36:24 Yeah like you say is what it is. You just take whatever you’re given and make the best of what you’ve got when you’ve got it.
Damon: 36:29 That’s right.
Barry: 36:30 It can all go tomorrow, so,
Damon: 36:32 well, I’m really glad that Tracy was able to find you, man. It sounds like she was really on a quest and I can’t believe that this was sort of her last ditch effort and then she found you on the last, the last try. That’s super cool man.
Barry: 36:45 Yeah. And it’s like, you know, when I was up visiting her the first time and she’s got, you know, a couple of neighbors that she’s really, really good friends with and uh, I went, oh, you know, I’m kinda tagging along like the little brother always would do with the big, with the older sibling going to meet her friends and all the rest of it. Her neighbors And she’s just like, Hey, guess who that is, everyone’s Kinda like staring at me. Well she goes that’s my baby brother. They’d say you don’t have a brother.She went no that’s my other brother. Oh, right, okay. So shaking hands and all the rest of it. But everyone thinks that she’s English cause she has the English accent now. And uh, you know, I, I occasionally, I’ll, uh, you know, maybe wind her up like a good little brother should do. And I say, well, you know, you say your Scottish, you’ve got that weird foreign accent and she’ll immediately go off in one a little tirade and yeah, or she’ll, she’ll, she’ll message my wife and say, give, give him a slap for me.
Damon: 37:47 You guys sound like you are really getting along nicely, which is so cool cause sometimes you don’t man, but she found you. You guys have a really cool connection and it’s really cool to hear. I’m so happy for you guys and all the best. All right?
Barry: 38:01 Thanks for having me man.
Damon: 38:03 Yeah, no problem. All the best. Bye Bye.
Barry: 38:05 Take care. Bye Bye.
Damon: 38:09 Hey, it’s me. I love to hear that a sibling has been looking for someone and finds them. Many times first parents wonder for years what happened to their child placed for adoption, but you don’t hear as much about siblings who remembered one of their own and have been looking. It was also great to hear that Barry and his birth mother arrived at some understanding of one another very early. She told him that his mother would always be his mother, but that she gave birth to him so she earned that title too.
Damon: 38:39 He internalized that and realize that it didn’t sit well in his own heart to call her by her first name, so he started calling her mom. As shocked as she was, I’m sure it warmed her heart when he said it. I’m Damon Davis and I hope you’ll find something in Barry’s journey that inspires you, validates your feelings about wanting to search or motivates you to have the strength along your journey to learn who am I really? If you would like to share your adoption journey and your attempt to connect with your biological family, please visit WhoAmIReallypodcast.com/share you can choose to share your whole story, maintain some privacy about parts of your story or share completely anonymously. You can find the show at facebook.com/WAIReally or follow me on Twitter and Instagram at WAIReally, and please, if you like the show, you can support me at patrion.com/WAIReally thank you so much to everyone who’s made a donation. It means so much to me. Honestly. You can subscribe to Who Am I Really? On apple podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and while you’re there, it would mean so much to me. If you took a moment to share a rating or left a comment, those ratings really do help others to find the podcast too.
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